Join Goose Lane Editions and the Toronto International Festival of Authors in celebrating the release of Rebecca Fisseha’s Daughters of Silence through Toronto Lit Up! Fisseha will have a short chat with Kerry Clare on her new novel.
Ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano fills the skies. Flights are grounded throughout Europe. Dessie, a cosmopolitan flight attendant from Canada, finds herself stranded in Addis Ababa — her birth place.
Grieving her mother’s recent death, Dessie heads to see her grandfather, the Shaleqa — compelled as much by duty as her own will. But Dessie’s conflicted past stands in her way. Just as the volcano’s eruption disordered Dessie’s work life, so too does her mother’s death cause seismic disruptions in the fine balance of self-deceptions and false histories that uphold her family.
As Dessie reacquaints herself with her grandfather’s house, familiar yet strangely alien to her diasporic sensibilities, she pieces together the family secrets: the trauma of dictatorship and civil war, the shame of unwed motherhood, the abuse met with silence that gives shape to the mystery of her mother’s life.
Reminiscent of the deeply immersive writing of Taiye Selasi and Arundhati Roy, Rebecca Fisseha’s Daughters of Silence is psychologically astute and buoyed both by metaphor and by the vibrant colours of Ethiopia. It’s an impressive debut.
Toronto Lit Up is a three year initiative, spearheaded by the Toronto International Festival of Authors and the Toronto Arts Council, designed to spotlight Toronto’s writers and empower local artists with career-building opportunities. Click here for more information.
Rebecca Fisseha's fiction and non-fiction explore the Ethiopian diaspora. Her writing has appeared in the Room, Joyland, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, and is forthcoming in Addis Ababa Noir. Her play wise.woman was produced by b current at the Toronto Theatre Centre. Born in Addis Ababa, Rebecca Fisseha now lives in Toronto.